Couple with 3 kids opens their hearts & home to 2 homeless children

The couple believes it was no coincidence that caused the two little boys to cross their path at a homeless shelter one day.

Lindsay Crandall | Stocksy United

Some people seem to dedicate every ounce of their being to giving. That seems to be the case for Ronnie and Krystal Stewart, a husband and wife team of protestant pastors who run Refuge Church in western Florida. With a large number of homeless people in their congregation, the Stewarts make a soup kitchen a regular part of their ministry. They started to notice a family that frequently came for free meals in part because of how young the children were. One brother was two years old and the other was an infant. Almost a year ago during a storm, the couple asked the boys’ parents if they could bring them inside to bathe them and give them clean clothes. The parents consented. A week later, a man found the children wading through the trash outside Metropolitan Ministries, which partners with Refuge. The boys’ parents were nowhere in sight. When the Stewarts heard about the children abandoned at the other end of the county, they quickly realized who they were. That’s when they took action.

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Even though the couple already has three children, they refused to leave the brothers without a loving home. Once the children were discovered in the trash, a social worker stepped in and removed the brothers from their parents’ care. The Stewarts have been responsible for the children ever since then — but not officially as foster parents. As such, they never received state assistance for caring for the boys. In March of this year, the couple found themselves at a crossroads. Krystal wrote the following on the Stewart Adoption Story GoFundMe page:

“We have now been faced with the decision to adopt or place the boys in foster care. We are absolutely positive that God has placed them in our lives for a purpose and to love them as our own. We cannot deny God’s sense of humor; my husband laughs as he remembers the conversation that we had the day before we met the boys. I was 6 weeks post-op from a total hysterectomy after battling an early cancer diagnosis and sadly said, ‘Well, no more kids for us!’”

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The couple started a GoFundMe page because they needed help covering the cost of fees related to the adoption. Since then, they have far surpassed their initial $10,000 goal. As of this afternoon, they’ve raised nearly $40,000 for their new sons.
— kayla wilson (@kyalexys) October 24, 2016

In Krystal’s last update to the page, she wrote, “We are so grateful and thankful for all of your prayers and donations. What an overwhelming feeling it is to see how much support we have received. God is good and I pray for blessings on each one of your lives.”

Amen! We’re so inspired that the Stewarts took a leap of faith and hope that more couples consider the good that adoption does. You really can change a child’s life — sometimes even two.

Here are facts and figures you might not have known about adoption. Get ready for some myth-busters!

• Adoption still remains a relatively rare practice in the United States, though it’s gradually becoming more popular. From 1973 to 2002, the percentage of ever-married women who had adopted a child rose from 1.3 to 2.2 percent.

• After a steady decline from 2005 to 2012, the number of American kids in foster care has been on the rise since 2014.

• About one-third of American women ages 18 to 44 have considered adopting a child. Of those, about one-seventh of them have actually taken steps toward adopting a child. These women were more likely to be between the ages of 30 and 44 and married.

• Most of the children whose biological mothers make adoption plans for them are not newborns. Only one percent of the babies born in the U.S. from 1996 to 2002 were relinquished for adoption within one month of birth.

• About one quarter of the children in foster care are waiting to be adopted.

• Adoptive parents tend to be very attentive to their adopted children. Nearly 3 out of every 4 adopted children age five and under are read to or sung to by their adoptive parents every day. Yet only half of non-adopted children enjoy such attention from their biological parents.

• Nine out of ten adoptive parents describe their relationship with their adopted child as “very close.”

• Nine out of ten adopted children age five and up feel positive about their adoption.

Sources: American Adoptions, Child Welfare Information Gateway, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Children’s Bureau

Written by Christine Stoddard

Associate Editor Christine Stoddard’s work has appeared in Marie Claire, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, The Huffington Post, the Catholic News Service, and beyond. She is also the founding editor of the socially-minded art and literary magazine, Quail Bell.